Monday, February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis - RIP

Harold Ramis has died. He was 69 years old.

Ramis had a long, fruitful career in Hollywood but most will remember him as the straight man scientist in the pop culture phenomenon of 1984, Ghostbusters. With his prominent pompadour and signature circular glasses, he showed that he could steal laughs away from Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray as Dr. Egon Spengler.

But Ramis shouldn't just be known for one character. He first broke into show business as a series writer and later performer on SCTV. His expert craftsmanship with writing comedy lead to a fantastic streak of comedic classics in the 70's and 80's: Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, and Back to School.

With Caddyshack, he went beyond the page and started to rest nicely behind the camera. His noteworthy directorial efforts include Vacation, the SNL spawned underrated gem Stuart Saves His Family, Analyze This, and the underground cult favorite The Ice Harvest. Though he was one of the greats in modern comedy, he also had a series of severe missteps, including Multiplicity, the unnecessary sequel Analyze That, a begrudging remake of Bedazzled, and the major flop Year One.

Despite these major setbacks, they can not erase how Ramis will forever remain a major contributor to the film arts, particularly for directing and co-writing Groundhog Day, the 1993 masterpiece that has become a perennial favorite every February.

He will sorely be missed.

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